FRANCE: Wine sector demands end to online advert ban
French wine officials are stepping up demands to allow alcoholic drinks publicity on the internet, with a letter accusing the government of "legal injustice".
The letter, to be signed by wine producer bodies around France and sent to the government in coming days, says ministers are ignoring a current "legal injustice" being done to the wine sector by refusing to legalise the web for publicity.
Drinks makers have been in limbo on internet alcohol marketing for most of this year, after France's anti-alcohol lobby won a potentially precedent-setting case against Heineken's French website. France's alcohol marketing law, the Loi Evin, was created in 1991 and so contains no clause on the internet.
Marie Christine Tarby, president of Vin et Société, the organisation leading the industry response, said: "We are sensitive to the problems of alcohol abuse, and we are not looking for total liberty [to advertise], we are asking for the same limited rights on the web as we have in the press."
Two eye-catching images have been produced to highlight the industry's cause. One shows a wine bottle wrapped in barbed wire, with the slogan: "Danger, talking about this bottle can have you condemned."
Documents leaked to several journalists, including just-drinks, in July, revealed a proposal to restrict drinks makers to only advertising on their own websites. The plan also called for a ban on pop-up and e-mail alerts. It was drawn up by professor Antoine Louvaris, who headed a special committee on alcohol marketing, created to make the Loi Evin relevant to the internet.
Alcohol industry members on the committee claimed that they had not been consulted.
Heineken's French website remains suspended, after a court ruled it illegal earlier this year.
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